People decide to look at their brand strategy, brand identity and brand activation campaigns for a host of different reasons, from telling their business story, to connecting with their customers. Over the years we worked with elite sports team, pioneering universities, entrepreneurial start ups and complex FTSE 100 leaders. The motivations for investing in brand are diverse but tell us a lot about the value that strategic branding and creative, brand-led campaigns can deliver whatever your structure, size or ambition.
Reason #1: Challenge & clarify your core strategy
Back in 2009 when we first started working with The British Olympic Association, this elite institution was preparing to host a home Games in London in 2012. A dramatic rethink of the whole strategy was required to ensure that the organisation was ready for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge ahead. The BOA invested in a process with rbl that helped them assess the status quo, find out what people really thought, debate and define the way forward, reconnect with their core purpose and articulate a clear and confident business and brand strategy.
The dramatic results of London 2012 and Rio 2016 are evidence of the power of this new brand ambition and rbl was there throughout the whole process. We remain very proud of our association with our Olympic athletes and continue to work with the BOA.
Reason #2: Tell a compelling story
The University of Greenwich had a clear business strategy but they didn’t have an engaging way of explaining this to staff, students and partners. We helped them define a brand strategy and articulate a simple narrative that connects with their core social purpose and translated their strategic goals into a simple idea that everyone can connect with: Change Starts Here. This was the central, unifying idea that underpins their corporate rebrand and recruitment campaigns.
Reason #3: Mark a step change
Sometimes businesses need to change to keep pace with their marketplace. This is about change at a very fundamental level and often involves a radical shift in culture coinciding with a fundamental rethink of the strategy. This was the case for World Sailing, the international governing body for the sport. Back in 2016 we helped a new leadership team at World Sailing to articulate a new and ambitious vision: sport, technology and nature in perfect harmony and developed a complete new brand strategy and brand identity system to mark a step change to both internal and external audiences. We subsequently helped them shape a new culture, values and behaviours that would deliver success.
Reason #4: Put the customer at the heart of the business
We’ve worked with many businesses where the needs of the customers have somehow become lost as the organisation has become increasingly complex and focused on internal targets. Sometimes our role is to remind the different teams of the need to put the customer first in both thoughts and actions. We’ve helped large organisations such as Severn Trent, Balfour Beatty and Suez to identify what matters most to their customers. We’ve helped them become better at listening and to innovate with a clear purpose: to make life better and simpler for their customers, organising their internal systems and processes to deliver a better user experience. Why have 20 steps when 3 will do? Why talk in Gobbledegook, when plain English is easier? Often, what’s good for the customer, is good for the business too.
Reason #5: Create support
The WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign is the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. Each year, millions of people around the world come together to call for action to protect our brilliant planet. In its 10th anniversary year, rbl were in charge of this important brand campaign which resulted in a 25% year-on-year increase in sign ups and a three fold increase in social reach.
Reason #6: Connect with your people
Large, complex organisations like Severn Trent are always keen to build better relationships with their people through really effective communications. When the business strategy is rapidly evolving to meet new challenges in the marketplace, colleagues across the business need to understand why and how this will impact their roles and responsibilities. We’ve been helping Severn Trent explain their business priorities for the past 5 years.
Reason #7: Sell more
The NFU wanted to better promote a diverse range of services to members. We helped the leadership team to develop a whole new strategy and then devised a bold new campaign to relaunch the NFU Bupa healthcare offer. After listening carefully to the views of different members, rbl were able to position this new campaign so that it accurately reflected the needs and concerns of real farmers. With stunning photography by Ian Forsyth, the campaign has lead to a 450% increase in applications since launch.
Reason #8: Get noticed
When two UK Meningitis charities merged, we created the name and identity for Meningitis Now, with a clear focus on campaigning activity to get the Men B vaccine adopted into the child immunisation programme by the UK Government. Creating standout in a crowded marketplace was critical and the name and identity was designed to be big, bold and brave. The Beat it Now! campaign was hugely successful and has since seen nearly two million children protected and a reduction of about 45 per cent in cases in vaccine-eligible children.
Reason #9: Maximise an opportunity
When the Students Union at the University of West England (UWE) were given a brand new £10 million home as part of a major campus investment programme, it was the catalyst to rethink what it meant to be a students union in a rapidly evolving HE sector. rbl worked with the elected student body to shape a new brand strategy and vision for the Union and a bold new brand identity was implemented across all the venues and activities. This has lead to a dramatic increase in student participation and a 240% increase in commercial contribution, all of which goes to fund more student activities.
Reason #10: Create value
Often brand is about delivering to the bottom line and driving increased sales. But brand also helps drive value on the balance sheet: businesses with strong brands are worth a lot more than businesses with a low profile and weak appeal, irrespective of the sales figures. In one lovely rebranding project for PXP we helped transform an outdated technology player into a vibrant ‘new kid on the block’. Within 6 months of the launch of the new brand, comprising of a new name, new proposition and bold new identity, the business was bought by a major global competitor for a very healthy value. Let’s just say the shareholders now know the real value of brand!